Charlie Lake business owner Joseph Kitzke of Kalia Resources Corp. has been issued a $35,000 fine with a 15 percent victim surcharge, payable over ten years, and a five-year ban on non-licensed use of a commercial lagoon system after being caught disposing residential human waste without a permit.
The ruling was made by Justice Darin Reeves in Fort St. John Provincial Court on July 31. Kitzke is the sole shareholder of Kalia Resources and acquired the lagoon for his business after it was no longer needed by the Charlie Lake Elementary School.
The site was originally engineered for the school to provide a septic lagoon, but was made redundant after the Charlie Lake regional municipality switched to a central sewage system.
After using the property to dispose wastewater, Kitzke was informed that with the transfer of the property the pre-existing permit was no longer valid, and therefore no longer permitted to dump waste into the lagoon.
It’s noted that Kitzke did commission a soils and hydrogeological assessment of the site, confirming that the lagoon system could safely accept 22.7 cubic metres of domestic waste under the law.
However, it was determined that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment and not the Ministry of Health, to issue a new permit, which the Ministry of Environment declined for undisclosed reasons in 2016.
Despite performing additional work to make the lagoon safe, Kitzke decided to continue using the lagoon to dispose of residential human waste within the Charlie Lake and Fort St. John area under Kalia Resources, knowing he was in breach of the regulations.
Kitzke entered a guilty plea to one count of unlawfully introducing or causing or allowing to be introduced into the environment waste produced by a prescribed activity or operation, contrary to the Environmental Management Act.
It’s estimated that Kalia Resources avoided paying approximately $118,000 in waste discharge fees that would have been collected by using the regional commercial dumping station - a gross revenue of over $180,000 from 1,305 clients, and a volume of 1.29 million litres, or 129 cubic metres, of human waste.
Justice Reeves noted that the offence was administrative in nature and not a real threat to the environment.
“No real environmental harm was created,” writes Reeves. “Mr. Kitzke used a well-prepared lagoon facility that he had confirmed would meet or exceed provincial requirements and had done just that for decades while servicing the local elementary school.”
“This was not an offence of introducing domestic human waste directly into the environment – this offence falls closer to an administrative offence than such conduct. His conduct was serious, however not as serious as it could have been,” he added.
Tom Summer, Alaska Highway News, Local Journalism Initiative. Have a story idea or opinion? Email email@example.com